A RAGBRAI Review!

Wow, I cannot believe that RAGBRAI 2014 is OVER. It seems like the anticipation for the event just kept building for months. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to walk after the first 78 mile day. I was worried I wouldn’t want to ride past day 3. Did I do enough training? Did I get enough calluses? Am I going to have saddle sores??? Yes, yes, and sorta.

Sky and I drove to Omaha to meet my parents where we navigated the Offutt AFB air show to meet at the commissary and to drop my car off at lodging.  We then drove the rest of the way to Rock Valley, IA on Saturday, 19 July. We set-up our first camp site and prep’d for the first ride on Sunday.

Here’s a summary of the week:

Day 1 – 78 miles – Rock Valley to Okoboji – Seriously, I was thinking, “Am I going to make it? I don’t think I’ll ever ride my bike again.” But by the time it was done, I thought, “That wasn’t too bad…let’s do it for 6 more days in a row!” haha. In Okoboji we got to stay by a lake. This was awesome because after our long ride we just jumped right-in to cool off! Then a few of us went for a ride on the owner’s boat to the town for the nightly concert.

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IMG_0703Day 2 – 31 miles – Okoboji to Emmetsburg – Pulled Sky 15 miles and my dad pulled him the rest of the way. I only rode to the midpoint town this day so that my mom could ride the last 15 or so miles. Not to mention it’s tiring pulling a Burley when it’s windy out!IMG_0689

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Day 3 – 76 miles – Emmetsburg to Forest City – This was the long day that some people decided to ride a full century on. I am still new to biking so I just stuck withthe 76 miles 🙂 Oh, and we had time for pie. Really good homemade pie.

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IMG_0728Day 4 – 36 miles – Forest City to Mason City – Short day to recover from the long day. My dad and I stopped for breakfast at Guys and Gals with a view of the lake! Sky rode the second half of this day, although it was only 15 miles or so! My dad pulled him again. He’s pretty much a beast.

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Day 5 – SAG – Mason City to Waverly – I drove the team’s SAG vehicle this day and my mom rode with my dad! Go Aggies!

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Day 6 – Rain – Waverly to Independence – It rained like crazy on Friday. I decided I didn’t want to be blown around by the wind and rain just to get more saddle sores and blisters. I helped my mom tear down camp and then rode with her and Sky to the next host family. My dad was awesome though and braved the wind and rain for a full 70 mile day!

Day 7 – 72 miles – Independence to Guttenberg – The last day! My dad and I got up early and took off at 645 so we could be in Guttenberg by 1230 for a Team Navy picture. We made the best time this day even with the most elevation change – 3,000ft! And of course, we had to stop for Beekman’s ice cream on the last day. I had to show a little Air Force pride even though I was wearing a Navy jersey 🙂 At the end of the ride, you get to dip your tire in the Mississippi river…so fun!

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Overall, I would definitely do RAGBRAI again. It was a bummer we had to set-up and tear-down camp everyday (maybe next time we can get a trailer lol) but it made for cheaper living, that’s for sure! The Iowans were all super nice and very welcoming to their towns. And all of our host families were AWESOME. Especially the one that let us sleep inside so Sky could sleep in a crib in the last town! The Navy team welcomed me even though I am a “Zommie.” And I had so much fun making memories with my parents. Sky did great camping every night and had great fun hanging out with Nana and Papa. Looking forward to future RAGBRAIs to come!

RAGBRAI Training Update

As many of you know I am training for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. At the time of this post there are 45 days, 9 hours, and 19 minutes until the start of the race… yikes! I will be riding 418 miles in 7 days.

I am starting to get super excited about it even though I am still a little nervous! It helps that I did 20 miles on Saturday with Sky and 35 miles on Sunday.  But I still have a longgggg way to go. It is finally summer out here in Colorado, so we enjoyed beautiful weather this past weekend. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and tons of people were out on the trails. The picture below is from one of the trails that goes towards Horsetooth called Spring Creek trail.  It basically connects from my house and goes west about 15 miles to the foothills!

The bike trails and how active the Fort Collins people are, are two of my favorite things about Fort Collins and Colorado. I love seeing other people out on the trails and running into people I know. It often times make you forget the “working out” part and just lets me enjoy the beautiful world around me that God created!

Yesterday I rode about 10 miles, and tonight, my hubby rode about 10 miles with me as well.  With my sister in town we have many more opportunities to get out together even for a little while! We are so grateful to have her here!

This weekend I am hoping to knock out 50 miles or so on Saturday, and we’ll see how I’m feeling on Sunday. lol. Too bad my classes start up again next week, life is about to get busy again!

One of these days I will actually post pictures of the house but I have been slacking on that too. Hope everyone is doing great!

Love you, all! Jess10354833_10201948231138691_7340539537945401905_n

RAGBRAI Route: Announced!

Yesterday, 25 January the 2014 RAGBRAI route was announced at the official “RAGBRAI party!” It looks like it will be 418 miles with about 11K climb! (I found out to my dismay that this is actually like the 3rd shortest route and 2nd less climb in RAGBRAI history but it still sounds daunting to me. Haha.)  The ride will take 7 days and will range from 36 to 73 miles in any one given day. I will be riding with my dad for the “Navy” team. I’ll probably need to find a bib to represent the Air Force at least one day 🙂

Looks like I am on the right path for training but I still have a long way to go! Tried out my new heart rate monitor this weekend and completed a 13 mile ride down the Poudre Trail.  It was again a gorgeous Colorado weekend with 55 degree weather.

Found this delightful article on RAGBRAI: http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2014/01/26/10-things-i-learned-at-the-ragbrai-2014-route-announcement-party/article

To see the interactive map go here. You can see all the little towns we’ll be visiting in Iowa and the route that we will be taking! http://ragbrai.com/routemaps/2014-interactive-maps/

My First RAGBRAI Training Ride

Some of you who are reading this are probably wondering, “What in the world does RAGBRAI mean?” Less than a year ago, I asked the same thing. The answer I received was the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Say what?? Let me explain a little more.

Late 2012 my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully they caught it early because he went in for his normal exam, and thankfully they were able to remove the cancer with surgery in early 2013! That being said, my dad decided he wanted to really start getting back in shape and to find a new hobby. A friend of his recommended cycling and the rest was history.

My dad asked me if I wanted to do RAGBRAI with him in 2014. It is a “race”, and I use this term loosely, across Iowa over a week in July. You ride any where from 60-100 miles a day to different towns, and then you camp there for the night and then start up again the next day. The ride is supposed to be pretty low-key as far as the competition, but I mean, you do cross the state of Iowa on a bike, NBD. It’s more of a have fun type of event. So, of course I said, “Where do I sign-up?”

My next step was: buy a road bike, because of course, you can’t bike that far if you don’t even have a bike… 🙂

We did some research over the summer and ended up settling on a pretty nifty little green/white bike right after the baby was born (like a week after and yes it hurt a little trying to get fit haha). I’ve only ridden it a couple of times last summer and this fall just because of post-natal recovery as well as training for my half-marathon that I ran in October. Not to mention it snows here in Colorado, and well, there was the holidays and such. But now, it is officially 2014 so I thought I better start training up for this race since I’ve never ridden more than 20 miles on a bike in my life…I love a little bit of a challenge! Or perhaps I am simply a glutton for punishment as my mom would say.

So, I will be blogging about my biking adventures for a little while and even if no one reads these posts, I hope to use this blog as motivation to keep on training and to stay with my goals. I will blog about those goals in an upcoming post.

Today’s adventure took place on a beautiful 41 degree day in Northern Colorado. In Fort Collins there are a ton of bike trails so it was easy to hop on the Poudre Trail and head towards the mountains. I am traditionally a runner, but there is something definitely peaceful about riding a bike. The wind rushing through your ears, the power and speed of the bike, the ability to look around and appreciate the view while still getting a workout. Today I focused on adjusting to the bike, getting to know it, and trying to add some calluses to my bum.

I rode 9.9 miles in 53:38 with an average speed of 11.1mph. Thanks to my new Garmin 210 for keeping track for me. I just got this for Christmas so I’m still testing it out, but it gives you a nice little chart summary and keeps all the stats until you sync with your computer on connect.garmin.com. Pretty sweet!

Look forward to more adventures on the bike, coming soon.